The Obama Presidential Center

The Obama Presidential Center represents a historic opportunity to build a world-class museum and public gathering space that celebrates our nation’s first African-American President and First Lady on the South Side of Chicago.

In September 2021, the Clayco | Ardmore Roderick team broke ground on the Obama Presidential Center, which is designed by architects Todd Williams and Billie Tsien and is being built by Lakeside Alliance. It will be a place to reflect and grow, connect and create; to tap into the visitors’ sense of purpose, and discover the change they want to make in the world. It will be a place to honor history while inspiring young people to write chapters of their own.

The Museum building will be a new landmark for the South Side, welcoming visitors to Jackson Park and marking the Center as a historic civic destination. The Museum building’s design embodies the idea of ascension—of a movement upward from the grassroots. Its form is inspired by the idea of four hands coming together; a recognition that many hands shape a place.

A new branch of the Chicago Public Library will feature interactive digital media spaces and amenities for children, informational and vocational resources for adults, and a reading room for all to enjoy. This unique partnership is the first of its kind and will provide almost every South Side resident with access to a public library within walking distance. The branch will also have a garden on its roof. Similar to the garden that Mrs. Obama planted at the White House, it will be a place where young people and community members can get their hands dirty and learn about growing fruits and vegetables—and there will even be a few bee hives for honey.

The park surrounding the Center will offer play areas, walking paths, and a sledding hill, all connected by a long pedestrian promenade that joins the Center to Jackson Park and runs alongside its beautiful and historic lagoons. And it wouldn’t be the Obama Presidential Center without a place to shoot some hoops. The fourth main building on the campus will be the Program, Athletic, and Activity Center. The facility will be a home for recreation, community programming, and events.


On Site

Presidential Visit

President Obama visited the Obama Presidential Center jobsite yesterday. Construction of the center is fully underway and it was great for the former president to tour the site and cheer on the team. Clayco is proud to have been able to contribute to this project and help bring this museum and library to the Chicago community.

CLIENT

The Barack Obama Foundation

LOCATION

Chicago, Illinois

SIZE

264,190 SF

KEY FACTS

  • Builder: Lakeside Alliance
  • Architect: Tod Williams and Billie Tsien